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Page last updated at 10:49 GMT, Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Controversy over 'honour killing'

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Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari has asked for a report to be drawn up on the case of a 17-year-old woman said to have been killed by her in-laws.

Her parents say her death was inflicted with exceptional brutality. But the in-laws deny responsibility.

Several members of the upper house of parliament walked out in shock on Monday on hearing details of the case.

Pakistani rights activists say hundreds of women are killed every year for allegedly dishonouring the family name.

Circumstances disputed

Seventeen-year-old Taslim Solangi was killed in March in the southern province of Sindh.

The circumstances are disputed. Her parents, who are in hiding in the city of Karachi, said on Monday that her father-in-law Zameer Solangi - who was also her uncle - had Taslim mauled by a pack of dogs before shooting her dead.

But Mr Solangi denies carrying out the killings or setting dogs on Taslim.

The local police chief said the autopsy showed the woman had been shot but there was no evidence of dog bites. He also said the husband was under arrest and was to be tried for the killing.

The motive for the alleged killing is uncertain. Zameer Solangi said a tribal council had declared his late daughter-in-law to be an adulterer.

But Taslim's parents say she was victimised because of a land dispute and that the adultery allegation is a false pretext.

Now President Zardari is reported to have asked an eminent female lawmaker, Nafisa Shah, to investigate the case.

Several senators walked out of their parliamentary session on Monday to protest against what they called the barbaric treatment being meted out to women in Pakistan.

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